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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/4/21

Parental Rights and Public Education Shouldn't Mix

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   3 comments
Message Patrick Mattimore

If I've got this right, the recent elections in the US highlight, among other things, that the parties must pay attention to "parental rights" when it comes to education in public schools.

Let me draw on my experience as a student, parent, and teacher to suggest why those parental rights might not be such a good thing.

Going back to the 1950s and 1960s when I was a student, I can't imagine my parents or any of my friends' parents marching over to the local school and giving administrators or teachers an earful as to what they thought the school should be teaching. Teachers and schools were the experts and education at school was their bailiwick.

Okay, so times changed, and by the time I was a parent/teacher, parents felt entitled to take a greater part in public education. The era of helicopter parenting arrived in the late 1980s. But, helicopter parents are different breeds of animals than the parental rights folks. Helicopter parents are essentially concerned with only their own child (or children). They became advocates and protectors for their own kids and what they perceived as those kids' interests. The upshot of that era was expanded services for things like special education. While it's debatable whether helicopter parenting improved public education, it's pretty clear that a number of new cooks had decided they had a right to stir the broth.

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Freelance journalist; fellow, Institute for Analytic Journalism.
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